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Colonialism brought large-scale farming to Africa, promising modernisation and jobs – but often dispossessing people and exploiting workers. Now, after several decades of independence, and with investor interest growing, African governments are once again promoting large plantations and estates.

If there’s one thing we are both passionate about, it’s land. Not that we want it ourselves. Rather, as scholar-activists, we’re both convinced that in South Africa, given our history, land reform is essential and must succeed in redistributing land from white to black farmers, families and communities.

The tide of history flowed on a farm in Msinga on the Monday before Human Rights Day, lifting the spirits of the people of Ncunjane as they took possession of a title deed that stated incontrovertibly that the future was now theirs. “Broken-hearted people,” said one speaker at the ceremony, “have reason to rejoice”.

“Financial inclusion” has hit the headlines in South Africa in the wake of a scandal over the distribution of social grants.

In his SONA speech last week, President Zuma said it would be “difficult, if not impossible” for reconciliation to be accomplished until land ownership in South Africa has been resolved. He announced during his address that he had sent the Expropriation Act back to Parliament in order to pursue land reform and redistribution lawfully.

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